tv [untitled] CSPAN June 28, 2009 8:00am-8:30am EDT
>> azadeah moavei is one of the few american correspondents who's been allowed to work continuously in iran since 1999. as a "time" magazine correspondent she's reported on islamic reform and women's rights. she's lived and reported throughout the middle east and is author of "lipstick jihad" and co-author of "iran awakening." to find out more about the author, please go to her website. ..
>> another book my wife just finished is called the shack and by william paul leon. it is fictional i do not know too much about it so i will check that out as well. i am always fascinated by the search for osama bin laden and i will read a book from the former cia agent that was in charge of the unit's searching
for bin laden recently wrote an op-ed for "the washington post" that got a lot of attention. have not read any of his books this is called marching toward hell. america and islam after iraq. another one is called your 15 club it is a golfer out how to book and focuses on the mental game and written by a sports psychologist it has taken a few strokes off of my game and i can take all the help i can get. that is what i am checking out this summer. ng of these
sessions is not allowed. now, to the matter at hand, our panel -- >> and, in i have to admit to i am a little mystified by bad. with the author's three have today they do not have works this is serving up the gates of the 21st century although paul bridges the 19th and 20th centuries than paul's work and richard has rescind a book that spans the 21st century rather than standing at the gates but with that let
me make a recommendation that i will open it to the panel and i will reserve some time at the end for some questions. first to my right paula giddings author of when and where i am sure, also in search of the sisterhood, and the editor and writing from the nation. her most recent book, at "ida: a sword among lions" ida b. wells and the campaign against lynching was called the best book of the year with "the washington post" did "chicago tribune" although a final choice for the critics both juries award i am happy to report as of 9:30 p.m. it is the winner for the "l.a. times"
[applause] she also holds the chair at the african-american studies at the college board also urge journalist who has been published in the near times, "washington post" broke among others. robert roper we are here to talk about biography related topics of most of his publish books are novels or story collections some of the titles include mexico days, he has written for magazines such as national geographic, "the new york times", "chicago tribune" and also of the losses angeles times. it publishes essays in the american scholar and teaches writing of the film department
at johns hopkins. he has just written a new novel and on work of a second in search of another biographical historical subjects. his most recent book entitled "now the drum of war: walt whitman and his brothers in the civil war". final 8014 who needs no introduction but he is the senior lecturer at the college of u.s. the and the best known for his presidential biographies of kennedy, nixon, reagan. his latest book was a biography of eight new zealand physicist ernest rutherford. he describes as a labor of love designed to show his fellow engineering graduates he was not as dumb as they thought he was. [laughter] to begin, i invited each fan
us to offer some opening thoughts we're here today stock of biography and history through the development of characters do you want to go first as the award winner? [laughter] >> i think the greatest challenge it took me a long time to write this book. for many reasons. the course lots of new research not only have a full-time job as long -- as well as rating but also had to learn about biographies specific way. i had written about history but not biography. so so many of the first drafts i got the narrative rather than the story so it to
to -- took me if you know, very much about 87 such an exciting%. she refuses to leave a first-class ladies car in 1883. the at some of the house founder and embroiled in all kinds of controversy because she's a very transgress of woman coming up in a victorian period. was all of that come with the first drafts i said this is really something that i can make her life adult. [laughter] that is because i was writing the history rather than the narratives about was my big less than to do the great challenge of integrating her personal life with the tumultuous and the finding period of the late 19th and
early 20th century. she is an exciting figure because her life actually when reason and i dwells launched the first anti-lynching campaign. we think about the beginning of the war years not until 1886 that the number of blacks exceed the number of flights. coming precisely at the time when blacks are making such huge advances it was coming from slavery this was the people who believed that citizenship rights had to be earned. and they did so. literacy drops. so much so that 200 black newspapers being published every week in the 1880s this is one of the church is developed, social institutions began to develop. it is a mystery to many blacks
so why is flinching increasing at this very moment when blacks seem to be filling this social contract of american progress? the very evangelical idea during this time. so ida b. wells figures about there's another way to think about protest which they are very reluctant to do they had terrible experience with three construction and let's not or about was going on and on the outside and the protest is the anomaly to many of them. she has to convince her white allies in particular that blacks are not guilty of a
crime they are accused of. the rationale for launching is that black men are raping white women. and it causes a new crime because this has never e merged before. using new methods of science that is developing but she also has to mobilize and protest using modern methods like civil disobedience she led the strike long before rosa parks and also with the immigration and it cetera, etc.. so so she had to fold task which she does with great meticulous and great courage. >> you have written across various john rose and
styles, what about our your experiences in that regard? >> all of my books are about people characters but i feel that i was stalked by wall commitment for a long period of time. i was forced to read my captain o capt. and other bad poems. then when i was in college i stumbled into a class where we were reading a lot of speed 13 and again we read a lot of poems of the indiana nebraska school. [laughter] and i had a feeling that what is all of the excitement about this guy? not until some years later that i realized we were
reading poems exclusively out of the deathbed addition. as many of you know, , walt whitman was eight poet who wrote the same book over and over again and could not get it right. he was editing his poetry as he went so the deathbed edition of the signed off on on his deathbed was the least exciting and most censored version. so i went back and read the first edition of 1855 and i was electrified. bigeye is speaking right to and leaping off of the page. he is so hungry to make human contact with you. it is a powerful force.
the 1860 edition another early one was very, very vivid and moving sexualize poetry so i thought there is something to this guy and i began to read with great intensity and excitement. so then i learned somewhere along the line he was a nurse in the civil war hospital. and walt whitman is always careful not to claim he was a nurse but he was. he carried bedpans, assisted and operations, is that with hundreds of young men as they died, roach thousands of letters to bereaved parents he was a very hard-working years. i calculated 40 or 50 hours per week in the hospital in these art civil war hospitals
in washington d.c. some of the more terrible channel house is. i was moved by bad began to work on it when the iraq war was going bad and reading about the soldiers at walter reed coming back and i felt that i wanted to learn more about walt whitman i stumbled onto the fact he had a brother he was an ordinary soldier who had written a hundreds of letters to waltz and his mother a very, very faithful correspondent wrote many hundreds of letters. there is a body of correspondence and it opened the door to the family that was a great experience for me. so why whelps that although whitman has been written about, there was a great
potential story about this family during the war and experiencing it in many different ways. his brother george, was not just an ordinary soldier but an extremely capable and fierce soldier and described as a friend as a grade and tender mother man. george who adored walt, they were very, very close, a george was a very hard and to a soldier in the effective and a killer. the letters to their mother back in brooklyn is released during me back. he would write saying mom, we were in a scuffle a couple of days ago but it is close to a little creek called antietam then a brilliant very real creation of the battle and
george's in the thick of it and afterwards walk to the grounds of the battle to really understood the forces that had come to bear. i thought these different kinds of man could bring interesting. >> did you ever consider just riding on walt whitman and the war or did you expand use family through the research? >> it was his parents when i realized they had written so much to each other there are so many different parts of it. >> that was part of the genesis? >> richard we know you're political work but this latest technical, scientific, what special challenges did that pose and what are your thoughts of history and biography? >> it is the least well told
story of a 20th-century you almost have to do it much of the material that is discovered in the period which recall the heroic age is too complicated. for people to stick with it is not an accident that people like einstein become public figures and interesting figures in their own right because it is the only way you can tell the story of what these people did. i love the title the gates of the 20th century because i would argue i did this book and doing 82nd book another scientific biography pro that it was science that drove the
20th century. you can do a historical constructs showing the wars but in the end they were about machine guns coming guest, atomic bombs, the airplane. if it would not have advanced certain way so ernest rutherford presents himself to be born 1871 on the frontier of new zealand and miles from the next nearest house, built his own bicycle avoid and traveled of that and became the first colonial accepted at the laboratory at cambridge university which would later become he would become the head. been much of science i find the
example young men are ribbon make their great discovery sometimes when they're teenagers then spend the rest of their lives refining it. rutherford was the exception to the rule probably because possibly because he started a little later in life. because of where he came from. but between 1911 and 1932, rutherford and i stein -- einstein were the two best known scientist and the world. rutherford was the greatest of the experimenters with the possible exception of michael faraday and einstein was the greatest theorist of his generation and this century. they were friends and other bird had a great deal to do with getting einstein out of
germany and into the united states which may have been a mistake on rutherford part but then a as part of the american public relations machine he did very well scions became einstein and rutherford reputation in the united states began to disappear. but in the 21 years, through some of the experience i recreated as well as i could he discovered generally the shape of the atom. these are going electrons that we know and he discovered the nucleus. radioactive decay, the half-life, the first successful outcome must then he changed one element into another unfortunately it was not a bold. [laughter] but it was nitrogen.
in addition he taught the 11 other students physics and chemistry including the other great scientist of that period one of 11 nobel prize and then in 19323 being american history, with obsolete the equipment and hands and had laboratories in cambridge and was the first to split the atom before the americans were able to and the germans are able to and their resources than trying to do it but
rutherford split the atom in 1932. another reason i was interested writing about him and we will buy about birchen is the he was the anti-edison. thomas edison invented the business, america but rutherford was of the english school, who felt that all scientific publications should be opened. rutherford never had a pageant in his life. the way science advances is when it opened dissemination of reformation he was thinking somebody in new zealand would read this and that would take the next up. that is the kind of science i wanted to write about. when rutherford it died, he died rather early in the late thirties, his bank account was
7,000 pounds which was exactly his own nobel prize money in the 1911. "the new york times" one said they bury brilliant science editor. in 1936 he wrote, what these people did, einstein, rutherford, ise nberg, the heroes of the heroic age of physics and this is what he said they did in. >> suppose that nobody on earth had ever heard a piece of music then suppose beethoven fifth symphony is played over and over by invisible musicians. the physicist problem is to devise an apparatus that will polled one note from another and analyze it with invisible instruments that produce the sound, produce the rules and
follow in what order it be played and how long it power of labour code is not likely he would succeed in imagining violence or clarinets or even musicians blowing into poor in spirit postulate by bodies that would meet the requirements. even with the simplification the odds of completely solving the mystery of beethoven fifth would be heavy. solving the problem of the invisible atom which is far more complex mixing with light and heat and other forms of energy and more intricate ways they of sound and more intricate ways, it is infinitely more difficult. and that is the gateway i wanted to write about your science bear the industry
chronicled more than the civil war and there is a new book on link and every year. what draws you? what drives so many of us to the civil war and what specifically do you to that period? >> that is a great question and i discussed the lot in my book because walt had an idea about the civil war. he was steeped in the civil war because he nursed these thousands and thousands of soldiers in new what was going on. he saw the wounds and the new. he visited battlefields but he had an idea that pretty soon the war would be over, please god, the union will be preserved and we will forget about this to the battle we will not care about the military minutia of the war as he calls it. people that care -- won't
care. what we will remember is the suffering and the caring. because those are spiritually vibrant fax. they have a lot more to do with this experiment of democracy, the great bank of america represents. what people remember particularly american men, it is that the actual details of the battles, who suffered where, what was done, how men overcame their fear, who survived, who died, those are the opinions that soldiers a particular and the sons and daughters and granddaughters and grandson's of the soldiers cherish you need to know those hard facts. so it is partly because it is
a great tragedy. for me, this book was also an opportunity to get into literature i spent a couple of years reading and it occurs to me the world is not a tragedy because brother kills brother rather so many brothers killed so many brothers killed so many brothers and it did it so well. ben american soldiers motivated and reasonably equipped are a fearsome force. the deaths are equivalent in contemporary terms to 6 million dead young men. two answer why? i think it is a profoundly frightening idea and we need to encounter it and try to
understand it. >> with your story with ida b. wells begins in the immediate aftermath but by the time she died, i assume the year you talk about this a little less by the easy part permission to reestablish her in the american imagination. tell us that part of your exploration of her life and i assume you have come to admire her? tell us what you think of her and her work spreadsheet actually gets a little lost, more during her lifetime. i am sorry less during her lifetime than later. this is a woman who just did so much. one of the first investigative reporters. she starts a settlement house in chicago, star's the first black woman suffrage